Beware of ice in thawing days ahead - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Beware of ice in thawing days ahead

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A pond with a 4" thick layer of ice. A pond with a 4" thick layer of ice.
Firefighters in the icy water. The firefighter in front is the "victim" in the rescue exercise. Firefighters in the icy water. The firefighter in front is the "victim" in the rescue exercise.
The rescue is nearly complete. The rescue is nearly complete.
Harrods Creek Assistant Fire Chief Kent Kruer Harrods Creek Assistant Fire Chief Kent Kruer

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Ice is a foreign subject in this part of the country, even for wildlife.  

Fire crews rescued a deer that fell through the ice Saturday on a river near Columbus, Ohio. Two horses had to be rescued with chainsaws after falling into a frozen pond Tuesday in Scott County, Indiana. 

An off-duty Lexington firefighter rescued a 12-year-old boy who crashed through the ice on a pond Friday, and was up to his neck in the water for ten minutes. A tragic situation unfolded Sunday in Clermont County, Ohio, where three children fell through thin ice on a frozen farm pond. Two were rescued, but one little boy died. 

To illustrate how dangerous the ice can be, the Harrods Creek Fire Department practiced ice water rescues for WAVE 3 News. They haven't had an emergency run yet, but there have been plenty of calls asking if it's safe to play on ice. 

"We can't guarantee the type of ice, how thick the ice is, we don't know that, so always our recommendation is to stay off the ice at all times," said Harrods Creek Assistant Fire Chief Kent Kruer. 

Here are a few points to remember:

  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice
  • Ice over current is more dangerous
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process
  • Don't try to rescue someone who has fallen in 

"If someone goes through, the last thing you want to do is try to go out and get them. It didn't hold them, it's not going to hold you. All you are going to do is put more weight on the ice," said Kruer. "If you can spread your body weight out across the ice and increase the surface area, you have a better chance of not falling through the ice. If you are on ice and start to feel it crack, best thing to do is lay down and spread your weight and try to slowly get off the ice." 

It was a scary exercise, even for the guys wearing insulated suits and tethered to their well-trained colleagues.

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